I think I understand the psycho-dynamics of arson for the first time. The POD was returned to us on Monday. Its presence here is causing some marital upset. What had started out as a perfectly adequate sized house is rapidly diminishing. Closets are filling up fast. Things are appearing, staged in the center of my living room, that should be left out in the barn. I am trying to ignore them, but the boxes of yet more books, heaters, things, are standing there, sentinels of overconsumption, pointing their fingers at me….’Guilty!!! You bought too much stuff once upon a time and now it has returned to bite you in the ass!’
The first half of the POD was all stuff that belonged to Jim. What a relief! He was mumbling something about why one man would need so many speakers, when I decided it was a good time to drive to see my mother. When I returned last night, there was little sign of all of the big, black boxes. They were stashed out of sight. Which may not always be the good thing to do.
Once you start hiding stuff away from view, you rapidly forget what was there. That tingley feeling you get when you’ve been caught hoarding slowly dissipates. You harden to the original guilt. You become free to buy more. But we do have to live here, after all.
The next half of the stuff in POD is mine, I’ve been told. Yarn. Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of it. Some undyed, but most of it cotton, linen and rayon, on cones, for weaving. More yarn that any one person could weave in a hundred years. An acquaintance who pestered me about helping me pack until I gave in and accepted her offer of help, yacked the whole time about why did I have so much yarn? I was ready to strangle her, but she did pack up several racks of cones for me.
Why do I have so much? For one thing, I’ve been weaving a long, long time. Over thirty years. I’ve always worked, so when a good deal came along, I jumped at it. It wasn’t too long before yarn jobbers from the mills in the south found out they had a real sucker in me. I just couldn’t pass up a bargain. So when one of them would call me and say, how about two hundred pounds of wool thick and thin? Or five hundred undyed rayon? And then quote a price that brought tears to my eyes, I’d say ‘Why yes!’ And because my husband has GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), a much more expensive and dangerous condition, he always gave me his full support.
I remember coming home from work on a fall day and finding a guitar-shaped Federal Express box on the front porch. I thought, I see a large fleece purchase in my future. Like magic, the next day a connection called with an offer of 750 lbs of Border Leicester Poly Pay cross fleece, for sale, to me only, for $2.50 a pound. I called Jim who was on a bus coming home from Manhattan. What did he think? Buy it! To this day I believe the reason we had to spend $10,000 last summer, replacing the septic field in our NJ house was because I had washed most of the wool and it wrecked the septic with grease and wool. Lesson, don’t do it.
Anyway, I digress. I still have some of the dyed roving of the wool from that purchase. Things just add up. In Jim’s defense, he bought the PA system his band used so they would sound good. I bought a lot of yarn so the students I taught would have a big selection to choose from. It wasn’t vanity purchases.
When we were living in the RV a few weeks ago, I whiled away time by reading. One of the books I finished was Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow. It is the fictionalized version of the true story of Homer and Langley Collyer, wealthy brothers who lived on 5th Avenue during the turn of the century. Langley, injured during the 1st World War, became an eccentric hoarder who eventually met his demise when a pile of junk fell on him and killed him. Homer, blind and deaf, dependant on his brother for food and trapped in a cocoon of junk, starved to death. When the authorities finally investigated due to complaints of the smell coming from the derelict mansion, the conditions they were living in became national news. This book, together with reruns of Clean House on Style Network, make me more than a little nervous.
Headlines: Old Obese Woman Found Suffocated Under Piles of Yarn and Wool. Husband Questioned. Or Inferno Destroys Michigan Home. New Jersey Couple Missing.